Rattle/Berliner Philharmoniker Box Set

 

This box set contains four Blu-ray discs of Berliner Philharmoniker concerts performed in 2007 to 2009. The common thread is that Rattle conducts each performance. Each of these discs has previously been put on the market as a separate Blu-ray title. Each of these separate titles was reported on this website, and each is still available separately. Next I list each disc as it is designated in the box set, and I add the name under which the disc can be purchased separately. I give you a link to more information I posted earlier about each disc. So to understand what you are offered in this Simon Rattle box, you should read the four linked reports:

Disc 1 or the 2007 New Year's Eve Gala Concert. The program includes:

  1. Borodin Prince Igor: Polovtsian Dances
  2. Mussorgsky Introduction to Khovanshchina
  3. Shostakovich Dance from The Golden Age

The gala music is pleasant, but my review of this was unfavourable because of the poor video. I gave it a "C+" grade.

Disc 2 or the 2009 Waldbühne Concert sometimes called "Russian Rhythms." The program includes:

  1. Nutcracker (brief excerpts)
  2. Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 3 with Yefim Bronfman
  3. Stravinksy's Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring)
  4. Nutcracker and Berliner Luft encores

I gave an "A" to Bronfman in the Piano Concerto No. 3, and a "B" to the rest. Of all the recordings in this box, this title was recorded last.

Disc 3 or 2007 Europakonzert. The program includes:

  1. Wagner Parsifal
  2. Brahms Concerto for violin and cello with Lisa Batiashvili on violin and Truls Mørk on cello
  3. Brahms Symphony No. 4

I don't have a grade on this yet.

Disc 4 2008 Europakonzert. The program includes:

  1. Stravinsky Symphony in Three Movements
  2. Bruch Concerto for Violin No. 1 with Vadim Repin
  3. Beethoven Symphony No. 7

I don't have a grade on this yet.

Released 2014, discs have 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

The 2007 and 2008 Europakonzerts just came out at this writing and haven't been reviewed. So it may be a while before we have all the information needed to evaluate the box as a whole. But I would say now that this project seems to me to be licking the bottom of the bucket. The grades we have are not especially exciting. All of this was recorded at special events while HDVD recording was just getting off the ground. Three of the four titles were recorded at unusual venues for the orchestra. None of these facts would suggest wonderful recordings should be expected even if the performances were outstanding. Just glancing at the tacky artwork EuroArts put on the keepcases for the  2007 and 2008 Europakonzert discs (as sold separately) suggests that even EuroArts doesn't think much of these assets.

I note that 2009 Waldbühne Concert title is now being offered by EuroArts in three different ways at the same time: (1) as a separate title, (2) as part of the Waldbühne Box, and in the Rattle Box we consider here. If you aren't careful, you might buy the same record 2 or even 3 times!

I see that Amazon in Germany is offering subject Rattle Box for about 90 Euros (December 2014) and that third party vendors are offering it for less. I suspect that EuroArts is not going to turn over much of this at current prices. Maybe EuroArts should come out with a budget series for offering these and similar pedestrian titles.